Fix File Explorer Won't Open in Windows 10

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Struggling to view a File Explorer window on your computer? This guide explains the best ways to fix Windows 10 File Explorer won’t open.

When you open a folder in Windows, a window will appear that lets you view the contents of the folder – this window is referred to as the File Explorer. As the name indicates, it is used to explore the files and directories of a computer’s storage. Like most features, this isn’t exempt from bugs and glitches and users have reported that Windows 10File Explorer won’t open. Why this issue happens is not entirely clear and it could be for a lot of reasons, including just being a one-off that doesn’t routinely happen. Nonetheless, if this is an error you encounter then read through our guide and learn about the best fixes.

Part 1: Overview of File Explorer Not Responding Issue In Windows 10

This isn’t an error that only happens in Windows 10; there have been reports of this error happening for Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 too.

When the File Explorer not responding in Windows 10, it stops the user from browsing their files and even from opening any files. Clearly this is more than just an inconvenience as it means your computer activities are very limited.

Keeping that in mind, fixing this issue as soon as possible is of the utmost importance and should be a priority.

Part 2: 6 Fixes for File Explorer Not Opening In Windows 10 Issue

To start with, we’ll be looking into the fixes that are available when File Explorer won’t open Windows 10, and we have dug up 6 of the fixes we found to be very effective. Afterwards, we’ll be showing you how to recover files from any folders that are still not opening even after you’ve tried each of these fixes.

1Restart the explorer.exe Process Using Task Manager

The first thing you can try to fix Windows 10 File Explorer won’t open is restart the explorer.exe process, which is the system process which handles the File Explorer. Doing this will require you to end and start the process through the task manager as follows.

  • 1. Press Ctrl + Alt + Del to start Task Manager.

  • 2. Under the Windows Processes header, find Windows Explorer.

  • 3. Select the process and at the bottom of the Task Manager, click the End Task button.

  • file explorer not opening on windows 10 - Restart the explorer.exe Process Using Task Manager

  • 4. Go to File and choose Run new task, enter explorer.exe, and press Enter.

  • file explorer not opening on windows 10 - Restart the explorer.exe Process Using Task Manager

2Disable Windows Search

Another solution which could help when you cannot open File Explorer in Windows 10 is to disable the Windows Search bar, and this has shown to be effective for some users.

  • 1. Type Command Prompt in the Start Search box, right-click the results, and click Run as administrator.

  • file explorer not responding in windows 10 - disable-windows-search

  • 2. Type the command net.exe stop “Windows search” and press the Enter key.

  • file explorer not responding in windows 10 - disable-windows-search

  • 3. Check if the File Explorer problem is now gone.

3Create a New Path & Clear History Cache

A slightly more technical solution you can try is to create a new path and clear the history cache (which could be getting too big and thus slowing down the File Explorer).

  • 1. On your task bar, right-click on the File Explorer and select Unpin from taskbar.

  • cannot open file explorer in windows 10 - create a new path & clear history cache

  • 2. Use the keyboard shortcut Windows + X and click File Explorer.

  • cannot open file explorer in windows 10 - create a new path & clear history cache

  • 3. On the left side of the window that appears, right-click on Quick Access and choose Options. Go to General and next to the Privacy section, click the Clear button.

  • cannot open file explorer in windows 10 - create a new path & clear history cache

    cannot open file explorer in windows 10 - create a new path & clear history cache

  • 4. Now go back to your desktop, right-click on a space, and select New > Shortcut.

  • cannot open file explorer in windows 10 - create a new path & clear history cache

  • 5. For the shortcut, enter the location C:\Windows\explorer.exe and press the Nextbutton, rename the shortcut File Explorer, and click Finish.

  • 6. Right-click on the new shortcut and click Pin to taskbar.

  • cannot open file explorer in windows 10 - create a new path & clear history cache

4Change Display Settings

Some users claim that incorrect display settings have been the cause of File Explorer not opening on Windows 10 and by making sure none of your settings are incorrect, the problem may disappear.

  • 1. Use the keyboard shortcut Windows + I.

  • 2. Select System and go to the Display section.

  • windows 10 file explorer won't open - change display settings

  • 3. Confirm that the text size is not set to 175%, any other percentage is fine.

  • windows 10 file explorer won't open - change display settings

5Restore File Explorer Defaults

Perhaps you have made changes to your system settings in the past, particularly the File Explorer settings. If this is the case then your settings may be causing problems and resetting them to their default state will help you.

  • 1. Search for File Explorer Options and select the Control Panel result.

  • 2. Go to the General tab and at the bottom of this menu, click Restore Defaults.

  • windows 10 can't open file explorer - restore file explorer defaults

  • 3. Next, go to the “View” tab and click on “Reset Folders” followed by “Restore Defaults”.

  • 4. Lastly, go to the Search tab and click Restore Defaults again.

6Run System File Checker Tool

The last solution to fix Windows 10 File Explorer won’t open uses the System File Checker tool. This is a built-in Windows tool that is used to scan the system files and check if there are files which have been damaged, corrupted, or are faulty in any way.

  • 1. Type “Command Prompt” into the search bar, right-click on the top result, and select “Run as Administrator”.

  • 2. Type the command “sfc /scannow” and wait several minutes until the scan is complete.

  • windows 10 can't open file explorer - run system file checker tool

  • 3. If any errors are found, they will be repaired automatically. If this happens then you must also restart your computer to complete the repairs process.

Extra Tip: Restore Files from Inaccessible Folders When File Explorer Can’t Open in Windows 10

If you have fixed the problem but there is still a specific folder that won’t open, or there’s a directory that remains inaccessible, your best bet is to restore the files from those folders. You can do this using a third-party data recovery tool and, in this case, we’d recommend AnyRecover which has a long list of features that you can benefit from.

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Follow Steps to Restore Data from Inaccessible Folders When File Explorer Not Opening in Windows 10 with AnyRecover:

Step 1. Download, install, and launch AnyRecover for Windows on your computer. Once the program is open, choose the inaccessible directory and click “Start” to begin the scan.

AnyRecover Data Recovery Software - select location

Step 2. Wait patiently while the thorough scan takes place. The length of the scan will depend on how large the chosen directory is.

AnyRecover Data Recovery Software - scan location

Step 3. When the scan is done, you can preview files by double-clicking on them. Select any of the files that you want to restore, click “Recover”, and they’ll be saved to your computer.

AnyRecover Data Recovery Software - preview and recover

All it’ll take is a few minutes for you to follow these steps and restore any files that were inaccessible because of a File Explorer error. You don’t need to have any extensive knowledge about data recovery either!

Conclusion

That sums up all you need to know to successfully fix this Windows 10 error and regain access to whatever files were made inaccessible. Users can feel very frustrated when Windows 10 File Explorer won’t open and it’s understandable that they’d want a solution quickly. Hopefully, the fixes we’ve gone over will do the trick but if not, we’d suggest you consider using AnyRecover. This data recovery tool will make sure that your important files are saved from the error and will make them accessible once again.

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By  Simon Marcus , to Hard Drive Recovery

Posted on Jun 05, 2020  ( Updated: Jun 05, 2020 )

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